Next Article in Journal
Entanglement in Fir: Thinking Matter in Peter Larkin’s “praying // firs \\ attenuate”
Next Article in Special Issue
Fast, Feast and Feminism: Teaching Food and Gender in Italian Religious Women’s Writings
Previous Article in Journal
Towards a Theory and Practice of Religious Literacy: A Case Study of Religion and Belief Engagement in a UK University
Previous Article in Special Issue
“For the Salvation of This Girl’s Soul”: Nuns as Converters of Jews in Early Modern Italy
Article Menu
Issue 12 (December) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Religions 2017, 8(12), 277; doi:10.3390/rel8120277

Incoherent Subjects, Incomplete Lives: The Limits of Spiritual Autobiography in Spain

Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Tulane University, 302 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 25 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1143 KB, uploaded 27 December 2017]   |  

Abstract

For many years Teresa de Ávila’s Libro de la vida was considered an exceptional work of literature, in both senses of the word “exceptional”. The work of Isabelle Poutrin, Francisco Durán López and others has made us question one of these meanings: no one doubts Teresa’s great literary value, but we now know that hers is one of hundreds (if not more) spiritual autobiographies/diaries kept by early modern Spanish women (and a few men as well). None of these lesser known vidas are as comprehensive or polished as Teresa’s Vida, and many are fragmentary and even incoherent. Insofar as these partial accounts of spiritual graces have been studied or translated, they are often excerpted, paraphrased, or translated in such a way as to make them more legible than, I argue, they really are. I propose then to consider how we might integrate these failed (in the sense that their authors’ spiritual narratives were never deemed models for others), fragmentary, incomplete, and incoherent narratives into the study of the “spiritual autobiography”. This chapter will examine a selection of such autobiographies to make the argument that, by examining a more complete corpus of spiritual autobiographies, and not just the most polished and successful ones, we get a different and fuller picture of the possibilities and limits of women’s self-fashioning through language in the early modern period. View Full-Text
Keywords: spiritual autobiography; Teresa of Ávila; Teresa de Jesús; nuns; Christianity; mysticism; Catholicism; vida espiritual; early modern Spain spiritual autobiography; Teresa of Ávila; Teresa de Jesús; nuns; Christianity; mysticism; Catholicism; vida espiritual; early modern Spain
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Shuger, D. Incoherent Subjects, Incomplete Lives: The Limits of Spiritual Autobiography in Spain. Religions 2017, 8, 277.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top